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The Autism And Diet Link

By Rachel Evans

When the initial diagnosis of autism is made, parents often feel very scared, and incredibly lost. It is hard to know what to do next, and even where to begin. All parents want to help their children, but because there is no exact cause or cure known at the current time, finding and exploring options are often some of the first steps parents will take.

One thing parents may come across in their research is the connection between autism and diet.

Though a change in eating habits and implementing a GFCF diet might not cure autism, there are many that believe this diet can help a child with this condition.

The initials GFCF stand for gluten free and casein free. Glutens are special proteins that are found in foods like grains or wheat, oats, and barley. Gluten can also be found in soy sauces, vinegar, some starches, and in many different types of food preservatives, artificial flavors and even dyes for colorings.

Casein is also a protein, and is found in milk and almost every product made from milk. Think ice cream, cheese, and yogurts. Both of these proteins can be hidden in other types of food as well.

The link between the foods containing gluten and casein and autism is still being studied. It is believed that some autistic children struggle to digest these foods, and they are instead a toxin to the body.

This toxin then has an affect on personality and behaviors that are associated with autism. For someone with intolerance to foods containing gluten and casein, eating them could also create a huge disturbance in the digestive system causing bloating, diarrhea, constipation, and sometimes vomiting.

Get More Information on Natural Remedies for Autism and other PDDs

Though many parents hope that this diet will help with all of autism symptoms, some rely on it mostly to help with the physical problems associated with ingesting these foods and proteins.

Any parent that thinks autism and diet are related should talk with their doctor before trying such a diet. Eliminating milk might be one of the first steps, but it also means eliminating a major source of calcium.

Continue reading for more information about GFCF diets and to sign up to the newsletter for additional information on managing autism with dietary changes.

When many of the foods are eliminated in order to try the GFCF diet, there can be deficiencies in some of the important vitamins and minerals a child needs. A doctor can help decide what to eliminate from the diet and what might be added to make up any nutritional shortfall. A doctor will also help monitor the over-all health of the child as the diet progresses, something that is essential for good health.

Results and conclusions about the effectiveness of avoiding GFCF foods on autistic behavior are still debated. Some parents have noticed significant changes, while other parents have found that is has had no real benefit for their child.

While enforcing a GFCF regime, some parents’ report marked improvement with not only the physical problems, but with social and emotional difficulties facing their children too. The frustrating part is as all children are different it is impossible to know what will happen until you put the GFCF diet to the test.

If you chose to go down the autism and diet treatment route, as long as your child is under a doctor’s care, and the foods being avoided are replaced with nutritional equivalents, there should be no harm in trying it.

About the author - Rachel Evans. For information and to signup for a Free Newsletter about Autism please visit The Essential Guide to Autism